The Gnarly Wood Shoppe: A Douglas Fir Conference Table

Friday, December 4, 2009 | Reader Comments | How-To | Reviews | Saws

A Douglas Fir Conference Table


We had a contest a few months ago and asked for customers to submit stories about how the Festool TS plunge saw and guide rail system helped them to work faster, easier and smarter. Well, Mark Schroeder, proprietor of The Gnarly Wood Shoppe, sent in his story about constructing a massive conference room table from Douglas Fir and walnut.

Mark's company produces custom built Arts & Crafts style furniture made of solid wood. Most of the lumber starts out as very large planks of rough-sawn hardwood. He recently purchased the Festool TS 75 after much deliberation and found that it delivers the high quality and precision he requires to produce his furniture pieces. He also enjoys the fact that using the Festool system means less physical strain moving around these large slabs of lumber since he can now take the tool to the work piece.

Here's what Mark had to say about his project...

I use my TS 75 constantly to edge large, rough-sawn boards in our shop. When it comes time to use a piece, the TS 75 is invaluable for giving us a clean cut.  When using the 36-tooth blade, the cut is nearly always glue-line quality. Often we do not even need to joint the edge afterwards.   Before the TS 75, we would make our cut line with a chalk line, move it to the 21” band saw and hand feed the cut then joint the edge.  Using the TS 75 has cut the process time by 75%, we do not waste as much wood and it is a much safer process than feeding a cumbersome board into a band saw. 

The reason for the original purchase of the TS 75 was a conference table we were building.  The design called for an old growth Douglas-fir top consisting of 5 reclaimed (and very expensive) clear, vertical grain planks that were 12 feet long and 2-5/8” thick.  We simply had no way to cut the pieces and we could not afford to make a mistake. It literally took us months to find these planks.  I investigated all available saws on the market and was impressed with the specifications for the Festool saws.  With a 55” and 95” guide rails joined, the pieces were easy to rip to width using the panther 16T blade leaving a good clean edge ready to joint.  I cannot emphasize enough how much safer this was over the old way of pushing these 100-lb plus boards through the band saw!  The cut was clean enough that one pass through the jointer instead of the usual 3 to 5 after using the band saw and we were done.  The least number of passes with board that big and heavy is important to my back – another plus!

Once glued up, the top was ready to be end-trimmed to final length.  Again, the TS 75 was the only tool we could find that would cut the thick top and leave the clean cut we needed.  Other saws we tested splintered the fine end grain in the Douglas-fir.  For this cut, we used the 55-inch guide rail with the 36-tooth blade.  The plunge capability and splinter guard made the difference here.  The cuts were perfect!  There was very little sanding to be done and that alone almost justifies the saw!  I can’t imagine not having this saw.  It is a critical tool in our shop. 

After making these cuts and feeling the quality of the Festool first hand, we purchased the PS 300 jig saw to make the arched cuts along the length of the table.  The thicker blade, deep cut capacity and the splinter guard again made for perfect cuts again.  Moreover, as before, this was the only tool we could find that would have the features we needed to give the cut we had to have.

As a consequence of using these two saws, the cuts they provided and the quality of their manufacture, we have purchased the OF 1010, OF 1400 and OF 2200 routers; the ETS 125, ETS 150 and the RO 125 sanders along with the CT 33 Dust Extractor.  These tools serve our shop well and compliment our stationary equipment.

To learn more about Mark and view more photos of his work, visit his website, The Gnarly Wood Shoppe.

Community Link The Gnarly Wood Shoppe Website
Community Link The Conference Room Table project on LumberJocks.com
Community Link More photos of the Conference Room Table project on Photobucket.com

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